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Dalrymple stands in for boss Hoeven on campaign trail

FARGO Jack Dalrymple has been John Hoeven's No. 2 man for 10 years, helping him successfully campaign three times for governor and running with him on the ticket. Now, North Dakota's lieutenant governor is fielding questions on Hoeven's behalf in...

Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple
North Dakota Lt. Gov. Jack Dalrymple stepped in for Gov. John Hoeven Tuesday at a town hall-style GOP debate in Fargo that features U.S. House and U.S. Senate candidates. Hoeven was unable to attend. (Forum photo)

FARGO

Jack Dalrymple has been John Hoeven's No. 2 man for 10 years, helping him successfully campaign three times for governor and running with him on the ticket.

Now, North Dakota's lieutenant governor is fielding questions on Hoeven's behalf in the governor's bid for U.S. Senate - an election Dalrymple stands to benefit from politically if Hoeven is successful.

A victory for Hoeven in the Senate race means Dalrymple would become North Dakota's next governor.

Dalrymple stepped in for Hoeven at a town hall-style GOP debate Tuesday in Fargo that featured House and Senate candidates. Hoeven was unable to attend.

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North Dakota Secretary of State Al Jaeger said there's nothing wrong with Dalrymple helping Hoeven's campaign as long as government resources or taxpayer dollars aren't used in the process.

"In a sense, we are basically on duty all the time," Jaeger said of statewide elected offices. "So it's not a matter of the hours spent, it's: Did the person use any state vehicle or any state resources in conjunction with that political event?"

The Governor's Office and Dalrymple's staff deferred all questions about Dalrymple's appearance at Tuesday's event to Hoeven's campaign, including whether Dalrymple had previously stepped in for Hoeven in a similar fashion.

Hoeven campaign manager Don Larson stressed that Dalrymple's presence was not in his official capacity as lieutenant governor and was paid for at his own expense, Larson said.

"We're very careful about using state resources," Larson said. "If there's anything that would have the potential where it would be both political and state business, we cover it through the campaign or at personal expense, just to make sure everything is kosher."

Larson said Dalrymple's experience working with Hoeven was the reason he was asked to step in.

"Jack is very up to speed on the governor's positions on the issues, so we thought he would be a good person to represent the governor," Larson said. "They've been a strong team for 10 years now, so I don't see that as a conflict of interest at all."

Paul Sorum, a Fargo architect vying against Hoeven for the GOP nomination this month, said Tuesday he understood Hoeven's absence and didn't care that Dalrymple would be filling in.

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"Being governor is a big job, so I don't want to be critical that he's not at this event," Sorum said. "Ideally, all the candidates would be at every event, but I don't know if that's necessarily possible."

The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and the Herald are Forum Communications Co. newspapers.

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